Thursday, 22 October 2015

Do you worry?

It's been a while, so I begin with a huge apology to all those crowds of you who have been anxiously refreshing your web browsers waiting for the next instalment.  Well for my weekly post apart from the Writing Wednesday post. What's that? Oh, well an apology to my two readers then.
I have been worrying lots about not meeting my expectations. I also bumped into my long friend from dancing who was also worrying. So I'm glad I'm not the only one worrying. So I was walking to the train station and picked up my phone read a long email message from my friend. Who gave me such an inspirational bible verse. O.K. it's a bible verse. What's so uplifting about that? You have to answer that question yourself!
Philippians 4:6-7 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Worry does rob us of our strength for today doesn’t it? Have you ever been so worried about something, that you felt paralyzed by fear? Have you ever been so worried or fretful that you found it difficult to concentrate or accomplish anything worthwhile or be productive? Have you ever been so worried that you failed to follow through on something good God had called you to do?
Worry does that to us—it robs us of precious opportunities to do what is right, to do what is good, to do what is helpful. We get so gripped by worry that it hinders us from being effective for the Lord. Instead of standing fast in the Lord and being spiritually stable, when we are filled with worry we are wavering, ineffective and unstable.
Notice the first part of verse 6. Be anxious for nothing. Commenting on the word anxious, Warren Wiersbe says…"What is worry? The Greek word translated “anxious” (careful) in Philippians 4:6 means “to be pulled in different directions.” Our hopes pull us in one direction; our fears pull us the opposite direction; and we are pulled apart! The Old English root from which we get our word “worry” means “to strangle.” If you have ever really worried, you know how it does strangle a person! In fact, worry has definite physical consequences: headaches, neck pains, ulcers, even back pains. Worry affects our thinking, our digestion, and even our coordination."
All of us at some time in our lives have probably experienced worry. Some of us may spend a lot of time worrying. Maybe you think you are just a “worrier” by nature and there isn’t much you can do to change it. Well I have good news for you this afternoon. There is a cure for worry and it’s found right here in the passage. We don’t have to be enslaved by our fears. Worry doesn’t need to overwhelm us and keep us from being our best for God. There is freedom from worry for the believer.
Paul tells us to be anxious for nothing. Now we can’t say back to him, “well that’s easy for you to say, you don’t face the kind of trials I’m facing.” If anyone had cause for worry don’t you think it was Paul? He is writing this while he’s a prisoner chained to a Roman guard. He faces an uncertain future. He could be facing death for all he knows. Yet he tells the Philippian believers to be anxious about nothing. Don’t worry, Paul says.
Take heart in what we are told in 1 Peter 5:7.
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV)
But a little worry is okay, right? No—we are not to worry. We are not to worry at all. We are not to worry about anything. Paul says be anxious for nothing. He doesn’t say it’s okay to worry about a few things or that one thing that is heavy on your heart. No—He says be anxious for nothing. Don’t be worried about anything.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying we shouldn’t care or be concerned. We should care enough and be concerned enough to do what we can in a situation that could potentially worry us. For example if you are in college and you have a test coming up you should care enough about your grade that you take time to study and prepare but you shouldn’t sit around worrying about your grade. If you have an unsaved friend or loved one you should be concerned enough to share Christ and to be a good testimony and to pray for their salvation but you shouldn’t be overcome with worry.
Maybe you’re thinking, I do worry too much and I would really like to be obedient in this area. I want to stop worrying. I’ve tried not to worry but the harder I try the more it seems I worry. How can I quit being such a worried person? There is a cure for worry. Instead of worrying we need to be prayerful.
Look again at verse 6. "but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;"
Prayer is the replacement for worry.
 If you don’t want to worry then you need to pray. Are you to only pray about a few things and worry about others? No, it says in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Pray about everything! Pray about the big things and the little things that concern you. Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything! As Matthew Henry said…
When any thing burdens our spirits, we must ease our minds by prayer; when our affairs are perplexed or distressed, we must seek direction and support. 
Prayer is vital and important in the life of the believer. Jesus told us to pray and not lose heart. It says of Jesus in Luke 18:1;
Luke 18:1 Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, (NASB)
And in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are told to pray without ceasing.
When you find yourself tempted to worry about something get on your knees instead. Replace your worry with prayer to your Heavenly Father. Charles Tindley, who wrote many Gospel songs was visited by a man who was a constant worrier. After listening to this man for a while Tindley said, “My advice to you is put all your troubles in a sack, take ‘em to the Lord, and leave ‘em there. Tindley wrote the song, Leave it There and the chorus goes like this;
Leave it there, leave it there,
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.
If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out.
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.
That is what you need to do. You need to take your burdens to the Lord and leave them with Him. Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything. Instead of worrying, take your cares to the Lord in prayer.
Our prayers and supplications are to be offered up with thanksgiving. Don’t miss this! If you want to be free from worry then you not only need to pray about everything, but you need to pray with thanksgiving. What a wonderful cure for worry is prayer with thanksgiving. When we have grateful hearts our attention is focused on God and His goodness and we get our eyes off our feeble, puny selves and on our mighty, powerful, sovereign, loving God.
Did you realize that when you worry you aren’t trusting God like you should. Is it easy to pray and trust and not worry? No—it’s not easy, otherwise Colossians 4:2 wouldn’t tell us that we are to;
Colossians 4:2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;
Did you realize that when you are focused on God and His goodness it gets the focus off of you and your problems and instead of worry you can rest confidently knowing that God is working everything in your life for your good.
If you have difficulty praying with thanksgiving maybe you need to understand and know God better. The more you get into God’s Word and the closer you are to Him and the more you experience His faithfulness in your life, the more your heart will be filled with thanksgiving.
As you learn and understand and know how wonderful God is your heart will be filled with praise and thanksgiving. If you lack gratitude in your life then you need to know the Lord better. He is good and gracious and the better you know Him the greater your reasons for thanksgiving.
Worry robs us of joy, but when we get our eyes back on the Lord through prayer that is filled with thanksgiving our worries fade. We understand that God is in control and even in the troubling circumstances He is working it all out for our good.
When there is cause for alarm or worry in your life, pray with thanksgiving. God is in control. No matter how bad your situation is God can use it to strengthen you, to grow you. His purpose will prevail and you can trust Him even in the midst of difficulty.
And look at the results with me. When you learn to stop worrying and start praying about everything with thanksgiving the results are peace.
Do you want to experience His peace? When you replace thankful prayer for worry, God graciously gives you His peace.
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
He gives us peace that is beyond all understanding. It’s beyond our comprehension. God can give you inner tranquillity when the storms are raging all around you. When your mind is focused on God through thankful prayer He gives you peace.
God’s peace protects you from anxiety and worry. As Christians we don’t have to be worried and fretful and uptight. There is a cure for worry and it’s found through prayer with thanksgiving.
When you feel like worrying you need to pray instead—pray with thanksgiving and God will give you peace that you can’t explain.
J. Oswald Sanders said…
Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God.
And he’s so right. If you’d rather experience God’s peace than be worried about your troubles, then pray about everything with thanksgiving. That is the cure for worry. That is the key to peace in your life. It doesn’t mean your troubles will vanish but in the midst of your troubles God can flood you with His peace.
Worry won’t bring you peace. Prayer with thanksgiving will. Worry isn’t the answer to all your grief and trials but faithful prayer with thanksgiving is.

If you're feeling anxious you may want to try these things out.


Control your breathing

If you're feeling so anxious that you can barely think or stay still, then it's likely that your heart rate is up and that you feel like you can't get enough air -- even if you're breathing twice as quickly as you normally do. If you want to control your breathing, then you should take the time to sit down wherever you are, to close your eyes, and to focus on returning your breath to its normal state. You can also try this exercise for good measure
  • Breathe in slowly through your nose for 5-7 seconds.
  • Hold your breath in for 3-4 seconds.
  • Breathe out slowly through your pursed lips like you're whistling for 7-8 seconds.
  • Repeat these steps 10-20 times, until your breathing has returned to normal

Know what you can and can't control

Knowing what you can and can't control can go a long way in preventing your anxiety. Make a list of all of the things that are worrying you, and mark the ones that you can and can't control. Tackling the ones you can control will make you feel more productive, and realizing that there are some things outside of your control will help you let go of your anxious thoughts.
  • Tell yourself that you're not helping anyone, not yourself, and not anyone around you, by wasting your time worrying about things you can't fix.

Learn to live in the present

Learning to live in the present can take a lifetime, but it will be worth it. Embracing every moment and opportunity that comes your way will help you stay grounded in the present instead of worrying over something in the past or in the future that can cause you harm. Take the time to "wake up and smell the roses" by slowing down, enjoying your relationship, taking a daily walk, and unplugging from your computer and phone for several hours every day. Can you manage that?
  • Meditate. Meditating for 10-20 minutes every day can help you focus on your body and your mind and on what's happening around you.
  • Use all of your senses. Take the time to appreciate the sights, smells, and feelings around you.
  • Don't take a day of your life for granted. Write down all of the things you're thankful for and embrace them as much as you can.


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